Financial News 12/18/11 – 12/24/11

Economy

-In a positive sign for the housing sector, housing starts jumped 9.3% in November primarily driven by apartments and other multifamily developments. It’s at its highest level in 19 months. 12/21

-Home resales rose 4% in November. The housing market is on pace to exceed last year’s home sales level. 12/22

-Consumer confidence climbed in December for the 4th month in a row. 12/23

-Initial jobless claims fell to 364K for the previous week, the lowest level since April of 2008. 12/23

-On its final revision GDP was moved down to 1.8% for the third quarter from the previously estimated 2.0%. 12/23

-Economists project a relatively meager growth rate of 2% for 2012. 12/23

-U.S. Consumer spending and income rose in November as both gained 0.1%. 12/24

Corporate

-Saab filed for bankruptcy and will sell its assets. 12/20

-After much regulatory scrutiny, AT&T has backed away from its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. 12/20

-Oracle’s second quarter profit rose 17%, but fell short of expectations driven by customers delaying purchases and causing slow growth in its core software business. The firm also announced a conservative growth forecast. The news is a worrisome sign for the tech industry. 12/21

-AT&T’s deal to purchase $1.9 billion in airwaves from Qualcomm was approved by the FCC. The deal increases AT&T’s network and bandwidth for customer downloads. 12/23

Regulatory

-Bank of America settled allegations that its Countrywide unit discriminated against minority borrowers. The firm will pay $335 million which is the largest settlement related to fair lending in history. 12/22

-A two month extension of the payroll tax cut was agreed to buy the House ending the protracted congressional stalemate. 12/23

-The Justice department has approved the merger of NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Borse, however the deal still needs to be passed by European regulators. 12/23

Market

-On the news of the improving housing market, a successful Spanish debt auction, and improving business confidence in Germany global markets jumped for their best day in December. The Dow rose 337 points or 2.9%, the S&P soared up 3.0%, Europe rose 2.0%. The 10 year treasury yield rose to 1.927%. 12/21

-Over 500 euro zone banks took advantage of the ECB’s low interest 3 year loans and took out over $640 billion. 12/22

-The S&P 500 moved back into positive territory for the year on Friday and U.S. stocks hit a 5 month high. The S&P 500 rose 0.9% on Friday and is up 3.7% for the week and Europe was up 3.9% for the week. 12/24

There is no guarantee that any investment strategy, including those described here, will be successful. Any investment or investment strategy can lose money. Past performance does not guarantee or predict future results. You should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Raffa Wealth Management, LLC. This information was gathered from reliable sources but we cannot guarantee accuracy. Indexes do not reflect the fees associated with actual investments and such fees would reduce the performance illustrated.
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